Over the past several years, mobile point-of-sale (POS) has taken off, arming sales associates with mobile devices to meet customers on the floor and close the sale from any location. This technology brings your POS system to a tablet or smartphone that can be an invaluable sales tool—not just for the checkout process, but also for building customer profiles and looking up product information in real time. While descriptions of mobile POS might initially conjure images of the Apple store, other industries are quickly adopting it as a way to make the brick-and-mortar experience more interactive, bridge the online and in-store channels, reduce showrooming and encourage interaction between customers and sales associates.
We talked to a mobile POS expert to learn more about how this technology fosters a smoother path from research to purchase as well as the return on investment of these systems.
A Seamless Customer Experience
As retailers struggle to compete with e-commerce and customer expectations continue to rise, setting the brick-and-mortar experience apart by incorporating cutting-edge technology can go a long way.
The demand from consumers for this technology is hard to ignore: in a 2017 survey from IoT and mobile device management firm SOTI, 67 percent of respondents said they’re more likely to shop at a store that integrates technology into the experience. More than 75 percent said sales associates equipped with technology improves their shopping experience.
For one, mobile POS allows the sales associate to better answer customer’s questions in real time. For example, if a customer wants to know how many of a certain throw pillow you have in stock, or what the shipping time might be if it’s not in stock, you can have that answer for them immediately.
Greg Strosnider, Sr. Business Development Manager at retail software company STORIS says rather than running back and forth to catalogs and stationary computers to check on product details, you can save time and create a more seamless experience for the customer by having that information right in front of you.
“You’re not leaving their side,” he says. “Since you’re mobile with your technology, you can stay with them and continue controlling the sales process more.”
Mobile POS is also great for product visualization. Rather than simply describing colorways or walking over to a printed catalog across the store, you can show your customer exactly what colors, fabrics and other modifications are available for every product in your store.
Another benefit is having real-time access to a customer’s shopping cart. Showroom staff can pull up a shopping cart created at home while in the store and continue the process, or the inverse can happen, where an associate can start a shopping cart for a customer in store that they might later finalize with a purchase from the comfort of their home. Either way, you encourage an easier path to purchase.
While mobile POS is a draw for today’s tech-savvy, convenience-oriented customers, it also helps showroom staff do their jobs better. In Zebra Technologies’ 11th annual Global Shopper Study released last year, 66 percent of surveyed retail store associates said they think they can provide customers with better service and improve the customer experience with tablet technology in hand.
A huge part of closing a sale is having the right information at the ready and feeling confident, and mobile technology can arm a salesperson with both.
Strosnider ultimately says, “regardless of the size of your showroom, it’s imperative that you understand your customer, personalize the shopping experience and act as an expert guiding them through the retail experience.”
Mobile POS allows customers to enjoy the ease and information of online shopping along with the perks of in-store interaction with showroom staff and tangible product. For retailers looking to keep up with tech-oriented consumers and stay relevant in a changing retail landscape, tablets are another tool that can set you apart from the pack.